Albuquerque Journal

NM delegation split over oil and gas orders

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Members of the state’s congressio­nal delegation are split along party lines regarding the Biden administra­tion’s executive orders aimed at the oil and natural gas industry.

Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich said he would not support a permanent, unilateral ban on new oil and gas leases, but he believes a pause is appropriat­e, despite concerns from industry groups and others that doing so could have immediate implicatio­ns for the New Mexico’s bottom line.

“It’s also crystal clear that the zero-carbon, zero-pollution economy is coming,” Heinrich said. “… To weather that change, New Mexico needs a transition plan with a predictabl­e glide path for producers and robust investment­s in the communitie­s where our energy veterans have produced our country’s transporta­tion fuels.”

In contrast, freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, whose district includes New Mexico’s share of the Permian Basin, said the president’s actions are hasty, and could have dire consequenc­es for state coffers and local communitie­s, given the industry’s role in New Mexico’s economy.

Herrell sent a letter this week to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, asking that she join with her to protect jobs and the state’s interests. She noted that one-third of New Mexico’s budget relies on oil and gas revenues, with more than $1 billion going toward public education.

“While other members of our congressio­nal delegation have been reluctant to speak out against the president’s actions, I hope you will join me in urging President Biden to reconsider any moratorium on new oil and gas leases in New Mexico,” Herrell wrote.

Despite the governor’s aggressive stance on climate change, New Mexico Oil and Gas Associatio­n Executive Director Ryan Flynn said Lujan Grisham’s pragmatic approach has allowed industry to be at the table as new regulation­s are drafted. He said there are similar opportunit­ies for the Biden administra­tion to meet its goals while avoiding economic damage.

Freshman U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., said not addressing climate change is a threat to national security, and hearing from the public about safeguardi­ng sacred places and building new economic opportunit­ies will be important as the Biden administra­tion reviews the oil and gas program.

 ??  ?? Sen. Ben Ray Luján
Sen. Ben Ray Luján
 ??  ?? Rep. Yvette Herrell
Rep. Yvette Herrell
 ??  ?? Sen. Martin Heinrich
Sen. Martin Heinrich

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